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The Rise of Off the Floor Linoleum

Marijke Griffioen, Senior Designer at Forbo Flooring Systems
October 2019

Peaks and Plains Furniture Linoleum

The naturally smooth and durable nature of linoleum lends itself perfectly to finishing all kinds of surfaces. In fact, we are seeing an increase in the versatile material being used for much more than just creating beautiful floors. From desks, chairs and drawers, to doors and walls, furniture linoleum is on the rise within interior design – but what is it and where has this growing interest come from?

Graduating as a textile designer from the Design Academy, Eindhoven, in the Netherlands, Marijke has worked as an independent designer for several architecture and design studios and also has a longstanding career in teaching at several Dutch Art and Design Academies.

As Senior Designer within the Forbo Design Team, Marijke is responsible for the Desktop and the Bulletin board collections. She also initiates collaborations with international educational design institutes, independent designers and international furniture manufacturers. In her projects she collaborates with BA and MA students in product and interior design. Being connected with the fresh perspective of young design talent is of great value, helping her her to identify emerging trends and to understand the need for future product innovations.

Marijke Griffioen Senior Designer
Raw materials linoleum

Throughout its lifetime, linoleum has been seen as a contemporary, functional, resilient and sustainable flooring solution. Indeed, what makes linoleum special is that it is made from natural raw materials, such as linseed oil, rosin, limestone and wood flour, making it a truly sustainable solution. It’s also durable and has outstanding bacteriostatic qualities.

However, it doesn’t only have to be used in a flooring application, as one may think! The flexibility of linoleum allows it to be fashioned into other ‘off the floor’ products, such as a natural surface material, which delivers a finishing touch for beautifully designed and functional furniture that will stand out from the crowd.

Furniture manufacturers have been using linoleum since prior to the 1930s and it is a trend that designers are continuing to adopt. But why? Well, Nordic design – characterised by simplicity, minimalism and functionality – has been influential since its inception in the early 20th century. The notion of ‘less is more’ and the desire for interiors with clean lines, simple designs and an emphasis on natural materials has resulted in a growing demand for this style being adapted into office interiors - and this is reflected in the elegance of furniture linoleum.

The natural flexibility of Furniture Linoleum means that it can be applied on all kinds of constructions. It also allows designers to experiment with the material and explore its endless possibilities, as it can be cut and curved into any form or shape, enabling the creation of simple, stand out office spaces that are beyond the norm.

Furniture Linoleum 4155 chair
Furniture Linoleum 4184

What’s more, with offices requiring a comfortable and friendly working environment, the warmth and tactility of Furniture Linoleum used on desktops makes it a perfect alternative to wood and other hard surface finishes. Furniture Linoleum is not only distinctive in the way it looks but also in the way it feels; it’s soft, homely feel and matt, natural aesthetic encourages a positive reaction from office workers, who spend most of their working days at their desk. And it also has one other unique feature; it doesn’t show fingerprints, allowing office areas to maintain their sleek look day in, day out, no matter how many people use the desk.

Forbo Flooring Systems’ Furniture Linoleum is a decorative surfacing material that can be applied to vertical, horizontal and curved surfaces, creating interior furniture with a truly distinctive and genuinely individual look that really is unlike any other surface material. Available in a range of 21 contemporary and modern shades, the varying colour palette complements current design trends and interior styling features.

The all-natural composition combined with Forbo's special surface finish ensures that Furniture Linoleum is naturally antistatic. This gives it a key practical advantage in comparison with other furniture finishes because the surface actively resists the build-up of static charges, helping to prevent dust or dirt from sticking to it and keeping the material unblemished, hygienic and clean.

Forbo’s Furniture Linoleum is widely recognised for its exceptional combination of aesthetic and practical properties and holds numerous prestigious awards including the Red Dot design award, the award for Good Industrial Design and the Interzum Award.

Furniture Linoleum Awards